A deal for a proposed new Falcons stadium in downtown Atlanta could be announced as early as Monday.
According to published reports citing high-ranking sources involved in the new stadium negotiations the Falcons have agreed to pay more than $800 million for the new facility and would possibly pay off the remaining debt on the existing Georgia Dome, which would be demolished.
Sources familiar with the negotiations told WSB that $200 million in bonds issued through the City of Atlanta, not the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, would still be paid by through the city’s hotel/motel tax.
Earlier this week reports surfaced Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has warned city council members that the city of Los Angeles had expressed interest in acquiring the Falcons.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank reportedly shared that information with top city and state officials in their discussions about financing a new stadium in downtown Atlanta.
That may have been all it took to get officials onboard with a deal, despite public opinion that continues to be overwhelmingly against the stadium.
A recent statewide poll conducted by the AJC showed 72 percent of respondents either opposed or strongly opposed to using hotel/motel tax collections in Atlanta and unincorporated Fulton County to help finance construction.
That number had been a nonstarter for many in the Georgia legislature.
“It’s hard to get lawmakers to vote for something that’s polling 70-to-30 no,” Gov. Nathan Deal told the paper. “They need to directly communicate with the public. Either way the public attitude has to be significantly changed from where it is now.”
However, last week a new proposal was floated that would allow the stadium to be built with no vote from lawmakers at all.
Under the terms of a revised deal for the stadium, no congressional approval would be necessary to increase the bonding capacity of Georgia World Congress Center to $300 million. That would allow the $200 million bond package to continue to be backed by the existing hotel-motel taxes that are collected in the City of Atlanta.
The bonds would not need approval from Georgia lawmakers and the state would own the facility after 30 years.
Initially, The Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) negotiated a deal with the Falcons that would have included $300 million in state-backed bonds, team owner Arthur Blank would pay the remaining $700 million.
Earlier this week GWCCA announced they had a shortlist of five architectural firms to design the stadium.
The five architectural firms chosen as finalists include Philadelphia-based EwingCole, Dallas-based HKS, Kansas City-based Populous, Atlanta-based tvsdesign (in partnership with Heery International and Gensler), and Kansas City-based 360 Architecture. These finalists were chosen from 10 applicants.
Interviews with the finalists will be scheduled in the next 30 days.
The new stadium is expected to span over 1.8 million square feet, and would seat up to 80,000 fans. It would be built to meet the standards of the NFL, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Major League Soccer and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), according to WorldInteriorDesignNetwork.com.